Written and Directed
by Jim Jarmusch
Running Time: 1:46
for language, some graphic nudity
and brief drug use.
Broken Flowers was one of those movies that was supposed to be deep and insightful and moving, but instead turned out to be a big bore.
Don gets an anonymous letter in the mail saying he has a son of a certain age. He sort of cares, but sort of doesn't. His next door neighbor decides to help Don figure out who the mother might be so together they come up with a list of four possible suspects and Don is sent on his way to track them down. The women react to him in different ways. One sleeps with him, one appears to still be in love with him, one pities him and one just downright hates him. Does Don find out who the mother of his possible son is? Who cares?
Bill Murray has taken to playing these laid back, smirking kind of characters who makes observations on the world from a safe distance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In Broken Flowers he is so laid back he seems close to death. He literally will just sit in front of a TV, not moving, not caring about anything. His neighbor has to push him to find out if the contents of the letter are true and at no point does Don look like he wants to do anything. But I suppose somewhere deep, deep inside he does care since he eventually takes the trip. But I never cared what he did. The first woman he meets has a teenager daughter who walks around completely naked, which was the highlight of the movie. Other than that, all four women he meets had nothing interesting about them. They seem just as bored as Don. Only Sharon Stone's character had even a little bit of flair and even then she was only in the movie for about five minutes.
There would be these long, long stretches during the movie where Don would be traveling in a car and we'd see the landscape. From out of the front window. From out of the side window. From the back of the car. On and on, over and over again we'd see Don in his car, driving from one place to another. You could easily fast forward through minutes at a time and not miss anything. Then a couple of times on a plan Don would have crazy flashbacks. I have no idea what the purpose of those was.
Finally, after searching long and hard, Don comes home. Soon every boy he sees might be his son. He approaches one outside a diner and they get into a conversation filled with deep, spiritual meaning. Then Don turns stalkerish and chases the boy around, thinking he might be this random person's father. Then the movie ends. This was just a strange slice of life movie that at no point drew me in. Some kind of emotion might have been nice. At least towards the end Don gets beaten up by a relative of one of the women he goes to see. And how was Don a Casanova? What was appealing about him that women of every age found him attractive? If he was just Bill Murray I could see it, but Don was just an old, single guy who enjoyed watching TV and not doing much of anything else. Was the letter real? There was some inference that the letter was written by his latest ex-girlfriend, but for what purpose? There were all sorts of unanswered questions in the movie, but I'll be honest, after suffering through endless car trips, I'd just as well leave those questions alone.
Sometimes you get a movie with a good pedigree that is supposed to be good. Bill Murray in a Jim Jarmusch film is supposed to be good. It's a minimalist picture, people will say. Nothing comes at you and beats you over the head, you have to look and see and observe and appreciate everything. The laughs aren't out loud laughs, they're subtle laughs. Well that's all well and good but where's the entertainment? Bill Murray has made a lot of movies in his time and most of them were more entertaining than this. I'm sure I'll get some emails from people saying I missed the point or that I didn't look deep enough to find the meaning, but any movie that put me to sleep (twice) is not worth the time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, there was nothing special about Broken Flowers. If you enjoy Bill Murray movies, I'd suggest going back and watching Lost In Translation where his character had an emotional arc and a strong supporting cast. Broken Flowers was just a waste of time.
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